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Author Topic: I-49 in Arkansas  (Read 689919 times)

J N Winkler

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #75 on: January 25, 2011, 11:01:20 PM »

The plans set is kind of small too.  I think it might be just a grading contract, despite the 2014 completion date.  This is such a small letting that I expect to have all the PDF plan sets downloaded and TIFFed by the time I go to bed two hours from now.

Edit:  Now finished (one sheet of sign designs extracted, TIFF plansheets filed), after one hour and five minutes.  The Bella Vista Bypass project in this letting is really thin gruel--just half the ramps at two diamond interchanges and the short length of mainline roadway in between, with no signing whatsoever (which tends to imply a long-term closure after completion, until adjacent sections open).
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 12:04:01 AM by J N Winkler »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #76 on: February 24, 2011, 08:21:50 PM »

The Bella Vista Bypass project in this letting is really thin gruel ...

The apparent low bid for the project was just a shade under $20 million (at least the gruel will apparently come in at under $7 million per mile):

http://www.thecitywire.com/index.php?q=node/14703

Quote
... The apparent low bidder in Wednesday’s bid opening was APAC Central in Fayetteville, which bid the project $19.854 million. The bid covers dirt work and driving surface and will connect segments of Arkansas 72 in the Hiwasse area of Northwest Arkansas. The first phase of the work is a two-lane road built to interstate standards.
Mat Pitsch, director of the Regional Intermodal Transportation Authority (RITA) in Crawford and Sebastian counties, said the work is a “strategic link” in completing I-49 ... Arkansas has already spent about $20 million on engineering, utility relocation and other preparatory work on the bypass. It is estimated that Arkansas’ share of the project could be as much as $250 million.
The I-49 route stretches from Texarkana, up through Dequeen, Mena and Waldron, into Fort Smith and on through Northwest Arkansas. All that stands in the way of this interstate reality is several small segments at the Arkansas-Louisiana and Arkansas Missouri borders, an Arkansas River bridge east of Barling that could cost up to $350 million, and a large 185-mile segment between Texarkana and Fort Smith that posts a price tag between $3 billion and $3.5 billion.
“That’s what we’ve got to do next,” Pitsch said, referring to the funding and construction of the bridge. “That’s a big elephant to bite. To me, it’s easier to make the case for that when you have interstates on both sides of the river.”
There will soon be interstate on both sides.
Work is progressing on the segment of I-49 through Chaffee Crossing, with the northern terminus at Arkansas 22 in Barling and the southern portion planned to Howard Hill Road. Ivy Owen, executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, is lobbying state officials to fund the short segment of I-49 from Howard Hill Road to U.S. 71 north of Greenwood.
Costs of the I-49 work underway and planned through Chaffee Crossing are in the estimated range of $67 million to $100 million.

EDIT

Here is AHTD's list of Contracts Awarded from Feb. 23 letting, including the Bella Vista Bypass project:

http://www.arkansashighways.com/ProgCon/letting/Feb%20'11%20Award%20List.pdf
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:02:08 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2011, 08:54:39 AM »

A bill for a 10-year half-cent sales tax increase in Arkansas took another step forward yesterday, and may possibly go before Arkansas voters for a vote in 2012.  The sales tax increase is anticipated to fund up to $1.8 billion for highway construction.  The current form of the bill provides that 70% of those funds would be used to build out a four-lane grid system across Arkansas.  Dan Flowers, the head of AHTD, was quoted as noting that US Highway 71 between Texarkana and Fort Smith is part of that grid system, and that US 71's path is part of I-49's future path.  I interpret that statement to mean that some of those funds could be applied to I-49 construction.

Link to the article:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9M4A0RG2.htm

Quote
A House committee made short work Monday of the five proposed constitutional amendments on its agenda, voting in a batch to advance all of them to the joint committee that will make referrals for the 2012 ballot.
The only measure that drew any discussion was a proposed 10-year, half-cent sales tax that would fund up to $1.8 billion for highway construction ...
Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, a former Arkansas Highway Commission member, is the lead sponsor of the proposal, which would devote 70 percent of the temporary sales tax raised to building out a four-lane grid system across the state. The other 30 percent would go to cities and counties for their own road projects ...
Barnett and Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Dan Flowers were on hand at the House committee to describe the proposal. The temporary sales tax would raise $160 million annually for state highways and $34 million each for cities and counties.
Overall, the proposal would make as much as $1.8 billion available for construction over the 10 years. The state would issue bonds, which would be paid down with the sales tax revenue, Barnett said.
The proposal has broad support, including that of the Arkansas Trucking Association, which is also backing a bill by House Speaker Robert Moore that would raise the sales tax on diesel fuel by 5 cents a gallon. Moore, a Democrat, has been having trouble lining up the votes he needs in the majority-Republican Senate Transportation Committee.
Barnett noted that the sales tax would not apply to food purchases, thus it won't run counter to Gov. Mike Beebe's bill to lower the state sales tax on groceries by half a cent, which is expected to pass.
Rep. Johnnie Roebuck, D-Arkadelphia, asked whether Arkansas 7 -- a north-south route in the middle of the state -- would be widened under the amendment. Flowers said it wouldn't because it wasn't part of the grid system.
"However, the utilization of this new revenue for building out those four-lane sections would certainly take the pressure off of our other funding, our normal federal aid and study funding that would be available for such routes as Highway 7 and others," Flowers said.
Flowers noted that U.S. Highway 71, a major connector between Texarkana and Fort Smith is part of the grid system. The highway's path is part of the plan to extend Interstate 49 north-south along the state's western border ...

EDIT

I don't know if the four-lane grid system is defined in the proposed bill or if there is a pre-existing "high priority" grid that is referenced in the bill.  Does anyone know if there is currently a defined four-lane grid that exists?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:04:43 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #78 on: March 23, 2011, 10:26:36 AM »

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #79 on: March 24, 2011, 11:28:48 AM »

Page 16 of http://agrtc.com/magazine/4th%20Quarter%2008%5B1%5D.pdf shows the grid.
Thanks for the very useful map of the grid  ;-).  It lead me to wonder about AHTD's prioritization of the projects, which in turn lead me to AHTD's 2006 Needs Study & Highway Improvement Plan that contains a map showing planned work on various Arkansas corridors (http://www.arkansashighways.com/stip/2006_Needs_Study_Highway_Improvement_Plan.pdf)[the map is on page 53 of the document and page 59/73 of the pdf].  This map is color-coded for anticipated work from 2008-2017, 2018-2027, and beyond 2027.  The only thing that jumped off the page at me was that I-69 from McGehee/US 65 to the Mississippi River is slated to be worked on by 2017. [this study was probably hashed out by the "long-timers" on MTR a while back, but it is first time I have taken a look at it].

I wonder how much, if at all, passage of the proposed sales tax increase would accelerate the timetable for I-49 (as well as other projects)?

EDIT
Here is a link to a February TV report on Barling to Greenwood construction (report begins with brief discussion of LA's I-49 North, and then focuses on Sebastian County's work):

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xh6fut_i49-work-update_news
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 02:33:02 PM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #80 on: April 03, 2011, 02:14:09 PM »

Here's a link to a news report (with a video) regarding Bella Vista Bypass.  Ground should be broken in approximately a month.  The report also has a brief mention of proposed diesel and sales tax increases:

http://www.5newsonline.com/news/kfsm-bella-vista-bypass-set-to-break-ground-20110321,0,6315691.story

In the report, Arkansas Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel indicates that Arkansas voters will have a specific list of projects that would benefit from the tax increases before they go the polls next year.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 02:21:53 PM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #81 on: April 03, 2011, 02:25:19 PM »

Here's a link to a news report (with a video) regarding Bella Vista Bypass.  Ground should be broken in approximately a month.  The report also has a brief mention of proposed diesel and sales tax increases:

http://www.5newsonline.com/news/kfsm-bella-vista-bypass-set-to-break-ground-20110321,0,6315691.story

In the report, Arkansas Highway Commissioner Dick Trammel indicates that Arkansas voters will have a specific list of projects that would benefit from the tax increases before they go the polls next year.

I doubt the sales tax would fly: the grocery tax is about to drop half a cent and Governor Beebe is against any tax increases.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #82 on: May 11, 2011, 01:50:08 PM »

I-49 International Coalition is meeting in Mena next week (non-members invited).  In case anyone will be in the neighborhood ... :

http://www.swtimes.com/business/article_59eae6a2-7bcf-11e0-bd0f-001cc4c002e0.html

Quote
The I-49 International Coalition will meet with members and nonmembers to discuss current status and future requirements for completing Interstate 49 in Arkansas, according to a news release.
The meeting is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 in the library at Rich Mountain Community College in Mena. Lunch is included.
Reservations are due Thursday and can be made by emailing or calling Bill Beam at b.beam@sbcglobal.net or (479) 243-3804.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:06:01 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #83 on: May 16, 2011, 07:46:09 PM »

An AHTD spokesman was quoted last Friday as saying the contractor is already on site: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2011/may/16/bella-vista-work-bypass-starts/
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #84 on: May 17, 2011, 10:48:23 AM »

An AHTD spokesman was quoted last Friday as saying the contractor is already on site: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2011/may/16/bella-vista-work-bypass-starts/
An illustration (dated Aug. 2010) on the first page of the linked article indicates that the current project includes grading and earthwork from Hiwasse to the AR-MO state line.  I emailed AHTD and asked them if the current project includes the grading & earthwork to the state line.  The response:

Quote
The next phase of work for the Bella Vista Bypass is scheduled to be let in July 2011. That project is for the grading and structures of 4.8 miles from Highway 72 north to the state line. Currently that is the only other project with a scheduled date for letting.

Having the project include structures is more than I had expected.  Slow progress, but at least there may be two projects up and running by Fall.

EDIT

Useless trivia department:  When this project begins in late 2011, Arkansas will have ongoing construction projects at three of the four state lines it shares with other states along the route of I-49.  At the risk of straying off-topic, a roadgeek challenge: When was the last time in the history of the interstate system, if ever, that one state had simultaneous construction projects at three or more state lines of a single interstate?  (I do not have an answer).
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:07:10 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #85 on: May 17, 2011, 02:19:46 PM »


Useless trivia department:  When this project begins in late 2011, Arkansas will have ongoing construction projects at three of the four state lines it shares with other states along the route of I-49.  At the risk of straying off-topic, a roadgeek challenge: When was the last time in the history of the interstate system, if ever, that one state had simultaneous construction projects at three or more state lines of a single interstate?  (I do not have an answer).


3 of 4? Louisiana, Texas, Missouri...who's #4?
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #86 on: May 17, 2011, 02:45:25 PM »

3 of 4? Louisiana, Texas, Missouri...who's #4?
Three states (LA, MO, TX), but four state line crossings.  There are two proposed state line crossings with Texas; (1) current construction just north of Texarkana and (2) distant-future crossing of Red River at north end of Texas section (yeah, one state line, but two separate crossings of that line; sorry for confusion  :pan:).

EDIT

In any event, one state having ongoing simultaneous construction up to the respective state lines of three other states along the route of one interstate must be a rare event.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 03:54:22 PM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #87 on: July 08, 2011, 06:50:45 PM »

http://www.4029tv.com/mostpopular/28482307/detail.html

Work on the Bella Vista Bypass was scheduled to begin today.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #88 on: September 01, 2011, 12:06:07 PM »

I just received an email update from AHTD.  Bids for a grading contract for Bella Vista Bypass from Hiwasse to MO state line are expected to be open this October.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #89 on: September 16, 2011, 08:56:03 AM »

A quick update:

Dirt work appears to be finished (or mostly finished) on the Massard Rd bridge over Future I-49 in Fort Smith. I couldn't get too close since the road is closed, but may try to sneak down this weekend.


Addendum:

Dirt work is finished on the Rye Hill Road bridge over future I-49 and construction has just begun on the bridge sidewalls.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 10:11:11 AM by US71 »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #90 on: November 04, 2011, 09:19:33 AM »

And in light of the I-69 designations in TX and KY, I've just e-mailed LA, AR, and MO about signing stretches of I-49 that are complete and attached to an existing route (Westbank Expressway, AR 549, I-540, and US 71).  We'll see what they say if they reply.
Above quote from "Louisiana" thread on Southeast page.

Since AASHTO recently gave its conditional approval for Missouri's conversion from US 71 to I-49 signage in December, 2012 (without that section connecting to the current I-49 in Louisiana), and The Texarkana Gazette reported on October 31 that the 8 miles of new terrain I-49 around Texarkana (that connects to I-30) should be open to traffic by this time next year, it seems like December, 2012 would be a great time for AHTD to coordinate with MoDOT and resign US 71 in Missouri, I-540 (from I-40 northward to BVB proposed route), the Texarkana new terrain I-49, and AR 549 and then AR 245 from Doddridge to the new terrain I-49 near Arkansas Blvd. in one ceremonious fell swoop (I-540 will have to be re-signed at some time anyway).  That would be a very powerful statement in fight for federal $$$$$ to complete I-49.

That would be a pretty nice Christmas present for roadgeeks!  :sombrero:
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 11:27:47 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #91 on: November 04, 2011, 12:15:44 PM »

Nope...better to wait until 2015 when I-49 is completed in Louisiana from I-220 north.

Or even better, wait until the segment between Texarkana and Fort Smith is at least under construction, and the Inner City Connector in Shreveport is fully committed to..and then sign the whole shebang as I-49 in one fell swoop.


Anthony
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #92 on: November 06, 2011, 04:57:27 PM »

Nope...better to wait until 2015 when I-49 is completed in Louisiana from I-220 north.

Or even better, wait until the segment between Texarkana and Fort Smith is at least under construction, and the Inner City Connector in Shreveport is fully committed to..and then sign the whole shebang as I-49 in one fell swoop.


Anthony

Why wait?  Do it now. IMO, its a mistake to wait as who knows when the stretch from Ft Smith to DeQueen will be finished.

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #93 on: November 06, 2011, 05:43:33 PM »


Why wait?  Do it now. IMO, its a mistake to wait as who knows when the stretch from Ft Smith to DeQueen will be finished.

rte66man

POINT!  :)

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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #94 on: November 09, 2011, 12:46:22 AM »

Signing the finished sections early (which I support) keeps the whole project in focus and I think helps to fasttrack funding for the incomplete sections.  government:  "Gee, what's the deal with this gap?"
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #95 on: November 09, 2011, 07:12:42 AM »

Signing the finished sections early (which I support) keeps the whole project in focus and I think helps to fasttrack funding for the incomplete sections.  government:  "Gee, what's the deal with this gap?"

There is some precedent for that: I (vaguely) remember sections of I-44 in Missouri being incomplete in the 1960's.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #96 on: November 09, 2011, 08:01:49 AM »

I just received an email update from AHTD.  Bids for a grading contract for Bella Vista Bypass from Hiwasse to MO state line are expected to be open this October.

I looked on the AHTD website and no such contract was awarded for the October 19th letting.

There is a letting coming up on December 14th, and the plans will be available on November 15th: http://www.arkansashighways.com/ProgCon/General/JOBS_include.aspx
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #97 on: November 17, 2011, 11:53:05 AM »

I just received an email reply from AHTD (my questions and then AHTD answers):

Quote
Q "I noticed in today's listing of December 14 projects to be let that the second Bella Vista Bypass grading and structures contract was not included.  Has that project run into a long term delay?"

A "The next job has changed scope a couple of times, but it is now a turnkey project schedules for May for the section from Highway 72 north to County Road 34."

Q "... in light of Missouri getting AASHTO OK to resign US 71 as I-49, is AHTD considering resigning I-540 as I-49 (with the idea being to demonstrate to members of Congress from non-I-49 states that a lot of work (MO & AR) has been done on I-49, which in turn generates more momentum in getting federal funds to complete I-49)?"

A "We went through the process and applied to the Feds not too long ago about that, but we were turned down and told more construction needed to be completed before reapplying.

It seems to me that the AASHTO approval for transition from US 71 to I-49 signage in Missouri would warrant a similar I-540 to I-49 transition in Arkansas.  It will be interesting to see how soon Arkansas reapplies.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:08:53 AM by Grzrd »
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #98 on: November 20, 2011, 02:31:12 AM »

Arkansas has a lot on its hands... but they need to focus on I-49/I-540... And not the southern section of I-49.  What is with the section south of Texarkana?  Why exactly was that constructed?  There's no traffic!  I'm sick of seeing NW Arkansas being tossed aside in terms of funding.  They need to basically re-do I-540 from Exit 62 (Martin Luther King Jr/US 62 west) to Exit 88 (Central Avenue/AR 72) in Bentonville... All from poor planning.   I drive it everyday, and it's ridiculous.  Accidents are literally daily, and just further tie up traffic.  Traffic during peak times can crawl at 30 MPH.
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Re: I-49 in Arkansas
« Reply #99 on: November 20, 2011, 04:20:25 AM »

Arkansas has a lot on its hands... but they need to focus on I-49/I-540... And not the southern section of I-49.  What is with the section south of Texarkana?  Why exactly was that constructed?  There's no traffic!  I'm sick of seeing NW Arkansas being tossed aside in terms of funding.  They need to basically re-do I-540 from Exit 62 (Martin Luther King Jr/US 62 west) to Exit 88 (Central Avenue/AR 72) in Bentonville... All from poor planning.   I drive it everyday, and it's ridiculous.  Accidents are literally daily, and just further tie up traffic.  Traffic during peak times can crawl at 30 MPH.


I think part of the difference is terrain. SW Arkansas is a lot flatter than NW Arkansas, which means lower construction costs. Don't forget there was a lot of debate for years about how 49 would connect to Missouri. Ideally, it would have been up US 71 through Bella Vista, but that area over-commercialized very quickly.  So AHTD had to look for alternatives.

PLUS, since Congressman Hammerschmidt retired, there really hasn't been anyone else pushing for 49 in NWA. As for 549, Texarkana probably had a well connected congressman.
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